Now that we are a little over a week removed from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Super Bowl victory over the Kansas City Chiefs we can really start turning our attention to the quickly approaching 2021 NFL Draft. It’s still a little over two months away, but the big event of the offseason will be here before we know it.
At this point in the offseason it’s generally way too early to predict with any kind of accuracy how the first-round of the draft might play out. Trades will surely happen between now and April and that alone will impact which players might go where. And then there’s player evaluations that have yet to be completed which could cause a certain prospect to raise or lower their draft stock.
Keep all of that in mind when reading over this article. Just because I have someone slotted to a certain team right now doesn’t mean that’s where they will end up getting drafted. This is after all mostly just for fun, but could also give us a pretty good idea of what players could go where and who could realistically be there for the Dallas Cowboys with the 10th overall pick.
My mock draft rules:
- No trades
- Picks based on current pre-free agency team needs.
- Each pick is based on what I think the team would do, not what I would do.
Let’s get started, shall we!?
1. Jacksonville Jaguars
QB Trevor Lawrence, Clemson
Minshew mania was fun while it lasted, but it’s going to be the Trevor Lawrence show in Jacksonville from now on. There’s absolutely no reason whatsoever Lawrence isn’t the Jaguars selection with the number one overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
2. New York Jets
QB Zach Wilson, BYU
With Sam Darnold still in the fold the New York Jets aren’t necessary locked-in on a QB here, but it be difficult for them to pass up a talent like Zach Wilson. This could be the most important choice the Jets new Head Coach Robert Saleh has to make this offseason.
3. Miami Dolphins
WR Ja’Marr Chase, LSU
Whether or not Miami pulls of a trade for Deshaun Watson or sticks with Tua Tagovailoa at QB they are still going to need to upgrade their weapons in the passing game. Ja’Marr Chase is exactly the kind of go-to type of WR the Dolphins need to upgrade their receiving core.
4. Atlanta Falcons
TE Kyle Pitts, Florida
Atlanta could look to draft Matt Ryan’s eventual replacement here, but instead they add another weapon to maximize Ryan’s final years with the Falcons. Kyle Pitts is a 6’6″, 240 pound matchup nightmare for opposing defenses who would open things up for Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley.
5. Cincinnati Bengals
OT Penei Sewell, Oregon
Protecting their No. 1 pick last year, Joe Burrow, has to be the Cincinnati Bengals top priority this season. Penei Sewell as the size, strength, and physical traits to be Burrow’s blindside protector for years to come and is labeled by many as a “can’t miss” prospect.
6. Philadelphia Eagles
WR DeVonta Smith, Alabama
The Carson Wentz era in Philadelphia looks to be over with the Jalen Hurts era all but already underway. To maximize Hurts potential the Eagles add a silky smooth route runner with great hands to upgrade their passing game, WR DeVonta Smith, the 2020 Heisman Trophy winner.
7. Detroit Lions
CB Caleb Farley, Virginia Tech
The idea of pairing Caleb Farley with Jeff Okudah – Detroit’s first-round pick last year – is just too good for them to pass up. The duo of Farley and Okudah would give the Lions defense two young, talented CBs to build their defense around in the pass happy NFC North division.
8. Carolina Panthers
QB Justin Fields, Ohio State
The Panthers have been pretty aggressive already this offseason trying to upgrade their QB position and are fortunate enough to see Justin Fields fall right in the lap. Fields is athletic with a big arm and could do magical things paired with OC Joe Brady as he continues to develop.
9. Denver Broncos
CB Patrick Surtain II, Alabama
At 6’2″, 203 pounds CB Patrick Surtain II is a perfect replacement for AJ Bouye, who the Denver Broncos recently made a salary-cap casualty. Surtain is a physical outside CB who is at his best in man-to-man coverage. He also fills one of Denver’s offseason “needs”.
10. Dallas Cowboys
OT Rashawn Slater, Northwestern
If the Dallas Cowboys were hoping to land one of the top CBs with the 10th overall pick than this is probably their worst case scenario. With both Caleb Farley and Patrick Surtain II already off the board they are forced to draft the highest rated player still available which will more than likely be Rashawn Slater.
Slater isn’t a consolation prize though. There are those who believe he is the best OT prospect in the 2021 draft class and someone who has the versatility to play any position on the offensive line. Considering Dallas’ entire OL was injured at some point last season, with the exception of Connor Williams, that versatility could be invaluable.
Rashawn is a plug-and-play tackle if either Tyron Smith or La’el Collins for whatever reason suffer any setbacks after they both had season-ending injuries last year. Considering Smith hasn’t played in more than 13 games since 2015 that’s a good insurance policy to have. It could even make Tyron a salary cap casualty if they need a little more money to work with in the offseason.
11. New York Giants
WR Jaylen Waddle, Alabama
The New York Giants stay committed to Daniel Jones and give him another weapon in the passing game to make his job easier in former Alabama WR Jaylen Waddle. Waddle has natural speed and burst, making him dangerous before and after the catch.
12. San Francisco 49ers
QB Trey Lance, North Dakota State
Kyle Shanahan couldn’t be happier Trey Lance slid out of the Top 10 and was still on the board for the San Francisco 49ers with Pick 12. Lance is a perfect fit in Shanahan’s offense. He may need to sit for a year to develop, but should be the 49ers starting QB for years to come.
13. Los Angeles Chargers
OT Christian Darrisaw, Virginia Tech
The Los Angeles Chargers priority this offseason is protecting their starting QB Justin Herbert and what better way to accomplish that then giving him a plug-and-play blindside protector. Christian Darrisaw possesses the skill set and talent to be the Chargers starting LT for years to come.
14. Minnesota Vikings
OL Alijah Vera-Tucker, USC
In Alijah Vera-Tucker are getting a versatile offensive lineman capable of starting Day 1 as a rookie at either offensive tackle or guard. He is a Pro Bowl caliber player at either position and upgrades the Vikings OL no matter which position he ends up playing.
15. New England Patriots
LB Micah Parsons, Penn State
Micah Parsons is arguably the most talented defensive player in the 2021 draft class, but maturity concerns could cause him to slide come draft day. Parsons’ All Pro potential and versatility to be an on/off-ball LB makes the Patriots a near perfect landing spot.
16. Arizona Cardinals
CB Jaycee Horn, South Carolina
After parting ways with Patrick Peterson the Arizona Cardinals find his replacement with the 16th overall pick in Jaycee Horn. He is a big (6’1″, 205), physical press man CB should step in immediately as a rookie to help solidify the Cardinals secondary.
17. Las Vegas Raiders
EDGE Kwity Paye, Michigan
The Las Vegas Raiders need to upgrade their defensive line both inside and out. At 6’4″, 277 pounds Kwity Paye could kill two birds with one stone for the Raiders. He has the versatility to be an every down DE and kick inside to DT as well in obvious pass rushing situations.
18. Miami Dolphins
EDGE Gregory Rousseau, Miami
After grabbing a dynamic WR with the first of their two first-round draft picks the Dolphins add a local prospect to boost their pass rush. Gregory Rousseau is a top-tier athlete with good length and first step quickness to be a dynamic pass rusher in Miami for years to come.
19. Washington Football Team
QB Mac Jones, Alabama
Mac Jones isn’t a player who’s going to wow you physically, but he’s exactly the kind of QB who is going to have a long NFL career due to his energy and leadership qualities. He’d be a great fit in Washington because he’s a consistent, accurate passer who doesn’t make a lot of mistakes.
20. Chicago Bears
OT Jalen Mayfield, Michigan
With the 20th overall pick the Chicago Bears beef up their offensive line with Jalen Mayfield for whoever they decide to start at QB in 2021 and beyond. Mayfield is a big, physical offensive lineman capable of playing either offensive tackle or guard with the Bears.
21. Indianapolis Colts
EDGE Jaelan Phillips, Miami
With no QB worthy of Pick 21 the Indianapolis Colts instead choose to upgrade their pass rush with Jaelan Phillips. There are some medical and off-field concerns that need to be cleared up, but Phillips has the potential/talent to become the best pass rusher in the entire draft class.
22. Tennessee Titans
WR Kadarius Toney, Florida
Kadarius Toney is a dynamic WR who could really open up the Tennessee Titans entire offense. He would not only add another dangerous weapon for Ryan Tannehill in the passing game, but also help take pressure off of AJ Brown and Derrick Henry the running game.
23. New York Jets
LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Notre Dame
After drafting QB Zach Wilson earlier in the first-round with the second overall pick the New York Jets add a versatile playmaker to upgrade their defense. Robert Saleh could use the former Notre Dame LB much like he did with Fred Warner in San Francisco.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers
RB Najee Smith, Alabama
The Steelers could try to find Alejandro Villanueva’s replacement at LT here, but instead decide to upgrade their running game. Najee Smith (6’2″ 230) is a big, physical back with soft hands and gives Pittsburgh a true three-down RB who complements their other offensive weapons perfectly.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars
OT Teven Jenkins, Oklahoma State
In order to help protect Trevor Lawrence the Jacksonville Jaguars upgrade their offensive line with the second of their first-round picks. Teven Jenkins has experience at right guard and both left and right tackle, which would add depth and versatility to the Jaguars OL.
26. Cleveland Browns
DT Daviyon Nixon, Iowa
With Larry Ogunjobi potentially leaving via free agency the Cleveland Browns have a hole to fill on the defensive line. Daviyon Nixon is a penetrating/disruptive 3-tech who would more than adequately replace Ogunjobi and possibly be an upgrade from Day 1 as well.
27. Baltimore Ravens
OG Wyatt Davis, Ohio State
With the 27th pick the Baltimore Ravens decide to upgrade the interior of their offensive line with the selection of Wyatt Davis. Davis is a plug-and-play starter at right guard. His physicality and power will help him anchor down in the passing game and open up holes in the running game.
28. New Orleans Saints
CB Eric Stokes, Georgia
Janoris Jenkins (33) could be a salary-cap casualty this offseason, leaving the CB position opposite Marshon Lattimore up for grabs. Eric Stokes is more than capable of sliding right into that role and would give New Orleans a fantastic young and talented CB duo.
29. Green Bay Packers
LB Nick Bolton, Missouri
No WR in the first-round again for Aaron Rodgers, but the Packers do add a physical tone setting linebacker to their defense. Nick Bolton is a physical downhill defender with great speed and striking skills. He would be a huge asset as a MIKE backer with the Packers for years to come.
30. Buffalo Bills
LB Zaven Collins, Tulsa
With Matt Milano potentially leaving in free agency the Buffalo Bills draft his replacement in Zaven Collins with the 30th overall pick. Collins is a versatile LB prospect who is built like a DE (6’3″, 259), but moves like a safety. He and Tremaine Edmonds would be a formidable LB duo in Buffalo.
31. Kansas City Chiefs
OC Landon Dickerson, Alabama
After seeing Patrick Mahomes harassed throughout the Super Bowl the Kansas City Chiefs decide to fortify his offensive line by drafting Landon Dickerson. Dickerson’s toughness, strength, leadership, and technique would help solidify the interior of the Chiefs OL for years to come.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
EDGE Azeez Ojulari, Georgia
Shaq Barrett played on the franchise tag last year and Jason Pierre-Paul is 32 years old. With Pick 32 Tampa Bay decides to add a younger and more athletic pass rusher in Azeez Ojulari. His speed and bend around the edge will make him a dangerous weapon for the Buccaneers defense.